Thursday, June 30, 2011

brief update

We moved to our new apartment on Saturday. Hooray! A couple of Thomas's friends from school helped with the move (thank goodness, no way we could have done it on our own -- moving in upstairs and with a baby to watch). We are almost unpacked and getting settled in. We LOVE it here! There are a few nitpicky things that I don't really like (such as the shower has separate knobs for hot and cold . . . little things like that), but overall it is just a wonderful apartment and without a doubt the nicest place we've ever lived. We plan on staying here til we are done with Knoxville, so hopefully no more moving for several years!

Thomas's sister Emily is visiting this week -- she has been in Korea for the last four months and couldn't wait to come see her nephew. The last time she saw him, he was barely crawling, couldn't sign anything, had pretty short hair, and was several inches shorter. It's nice to have her here, and we are looking forward to more visitors in the next couple weeks.

I will put up pictures of the apartment once the unpacking is completely done.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

power outages stink

Tuesday night just after 8 there was a crazy storm. Our power went out for a few seconds three or four times, and then it went out and stayed out. Jamie was thankfully already in bed asleep, but it meant we couldn't watch a movie like we were planning or keep packing/cleaning like we should have been planning. We played some flashlight Skip-bo (during which Thomas was not amused by either my flashlight/skip-bo card strobe light or my shadow-puppet dog that I dubbed "Sparky") and went to bed early.

The power came back on around 4:30 Wednesday morning, but our internet was still off for the entire day. Then Wednesday evening our power went out AGAIN. This time there was no storm, just a little rain, and Jamie was still up, so we had to give him his bath by flashlight. Once again we could not do any packing or cleaning after he was in bed, and we are moving in 2 days so that was LAME.  Thomas went to the library to do homework and I got in bed and read Harry Potter--again by flashlight--until I got tired enough to go to sleep. It's hard to go to bed that much earlier than you're used to! The power came back on about 5 a.m., and our internet finally came back this morning.

I know we're lucky it wasn't off for longer and that it was on during the day, but it was unfortunate timing for us. We've never had a long power outage before while living in apartments. I hope we don't again for a long time . . .

In other news: We are signing the lease at our new place TODAY (though we won't be really moving til Saturday). And this morning while packing up a box, I had my back turned on Jamie for about 1 minute, and I turned around to discover him standing on one of our kitchen chairs! How he managed to get up there on his own, I have no idea. This boy is turning into a little climbing monkey.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

At the park

Jamie and I love to go to the park in the morning before it gets too hot. Today we played with his ball, pulled bark off a tree, met a friendly dog (and he signed "doggy" for the first time!), and of course went on the swings. Here are some pictures from today's expedition.
having a snack
just being cute
Jamie's favorite new park activity:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jamie at 12 months

At one year old, Jamie can:
  • walk! He gets better at it every day.
  • sign about 10 different words.
  • understand tons of what we say.
  • maybe say "momma" (and mean it).
  • climb. Or at least, he's starting to learn. I think we may be doomed.
  • drink from a straw--but not from a regular sippy cup.
  • dance (cutest thing EVER).
He loves:
  • pulling books off his shelves.
  • opening drawers and taking out their contents (sometimes putting the contents into a different drawer).
  • opening the kitchen cabinets and taking out dishes.
  • throwing his food on the floor once he's full.
  • generally making messes.
  • toys that make noises.
  • eating almost everything, but especially bread, pasta, avocado, meat, applesauce, yogurt, rice crackers, and soft fruits (ripe bananas and pears, etc).
  • putting anything and everything in his mouth.
  • making silly noises.
  • tickles.
  • being thrown in the air or hung upside down.
  • hiding toys beneath the couch or underneath cushions.
  • going swimming.
  • swinging at the park.
  • seeing new places and hanging out with people.
  • banging away at the keys on the computer keyboard.
  • dancing to music.
  • splashing in the bath -- and drinking the bath water.
  • shoes (eating them, not wearing them).
  • touch-and-feel books and lift-the-flap books (though he tends to rip the flaps off).
He dislikes:
  • having his hair washed.
  • getting his diaper changed.
  • being forced to hold still for any length of time.
  • having solid food mixed with not-solid food (like chunks of pears in his cereal. He is not a fan).
  • tortillas.
  • when we don't let him do what we're doing or have what we have.
  • the red light our camera makes before it takes a picture.
  • having a hat put on him . . . but he forgets about it once it's on (usually).
12 month stats:
  • 24 lbs, 6 oz (75th percentile)
  • 30.5 inches (also 75th percentile)
  • 8 teeth, with some molars on the way
  • sleeps 10-11 hours at night and is kind of in between 1 and 2 naps
He is definitely a handful, but he is the cutest boy we've ever seen and we feel so lucky to have him!

Friday, June 17, 2011


My baby is one! In a year, Jamie has gone from this:
to this:
It has been AMAZING watching him grow and develop over this year!

For his birthday, we went to the zoo! We had never been to the Knoxville zoo before, and we LOVED it. Because it cost about the same as going twice, we got a membership, so we'll definitely be going back! We got really lucky with the weather. It has been in the 90s nearly every day for the past several weeks, but his birthday was cloudy and in the high 70s. It started pouring down rain right as we were leaving, so we were also lucky with the timing!
our favorite exhibit:
the red panda village
watching the river otters
Jamie's wingspan: smaller than a condor's
making friends with the white alligator
carousel ride
petting zoo
Jamie the zebra!

After we got home and Jamie had a nap, it was time for presents! He was really excited about unwrapping the first couple, but after that he lost interest and preferred playing with the unwrapped gifts. He got a lot of great new toys and books and cards, etc. We got him a set of nice blocks and a ball, and we have already been having a lot of fun building towers and knocking them down.

We had a yummy dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. Afterwards, it was finally time for cake! Jamie was very tentative at first, taking delicate swipes at the frosting, but after a while he got into it and demolished the cake. I don't think he ate more than maybe one bite of the cake itself . . . but he definitely had more than enough frosting! SO FUN.
the cake matched his new blocks

We sure love this boy! I think he had a very happy first birthday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

rainbow cupcakes

My sweet baby boy is 1 today! I can't believe it's been a year since he was born. We have a lot of fun planned for the day and I will share all about it later on.

Yesterday I made his birthday cake (see previous post), and then after he went to bed I also made these fabulous cupcakes. I got the idea and instructions here. Thomas is taking some to school just for fun . . . and we're eating the rest. YUM.

I used the same gel colors I used to decorate his cake to color the cake batter. Then I layered the colors in rainbow order in cupcake wrappers. I did some starting with blue on the bottom and some starting with red. I am SUPER happy with how they turned out! I can't wait to make these when Jamie's old enough to appreciate them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

birthday cake

Today I made Jamie's first birthday cake! I am so excited about it! I stole the idea for a block cake from my sister-in-law Sarah who made them for Jamie's cousins a couple months ago. I have never taken a cake decorating class or anything, but I have decorated scores (okay maybe just one score) of gingerbread houses and grew up watching my mom making super awesome birthday cakes. I made a carrot cake because it is dairy free, has vegetables in it, and calls for oil (I used olive oil), so it's not quite as terrible for you as most cakes.

I made the cake during Jamie's morning nap and then let it cool.
I finished it during his afternoon (well, actually he woke up earlier than normal so Thomas took him to the park until dinner time and I was able to finish everything). I cut into four regularish pieces
And then I made three of them level. Thomas got to eat the extra one.
cake scraps!
Thomas ate those too.
For the frosting, I used a recipe from the dairy-free cook book my sister-in-law Emily got me for Christmas. It had a specific variation to use if you're decorating with the frosting, so I used that and it worked out great.
Next I assembled my pieces. I tried to make it as close to a cube as I could. It wasn't perfect and was lopsided, but I tried to fix it as best I could. The lopsidedness never did get fixed to my satisfaction.
And then I frosted the whole thing. This was the hardest part for me. I couldn't get it to look as smooth as I wanted it to. Fortunately once it came together, you couldn't really tell anymore.
For the sides of the block, I used Jamie's initials, the number 1, and a star. I did each side in a different color. I used Wilton's gel colors which I purchased for some cupcakes I'm planning to make later. Apparently if you're using red, you have to get a special one that says "no taste." I can't understand why they bother making the normal red if it makes everything taste gross. Walmart was out of that when I went, so I had to go to another store, and I actually found this great cake decorating store. If I did more cakes I bet I'd be there all the time! I will definitely keep it in mind for Jamie's next birthday.
Once the frosting was colored (I had to use a LOT of red before I was satisfied it wasn't pink), I went to town on each side. I used a toothpick to outline them before I used any frosting, and then I outlined each letter with frosting before filling it in. It was a lot easier than I expected it to be!
I can't wait to give it to him tomorrow!